The Drew’s and Don’ts: Pronunciation Nation
By Drew Carpenter
Hired to do an automotive voice over for Manphrakph Motors in Mahtomedi, MN? Think you should just sound it out? Leave that to your competition. This is day one stuff for voice talent, yet I hear stories all the time about talent getting lazy and causing problems for themselves and their clients by not doing their homework. If there is any question of how to pronounce something, check first! No one likes hearing the name of their city or worse their name mispronounced throughout a long form narration or broadcast spot.
Finding out how to say non dictionary words is easier than you think and you usually don’t need to bother the client. One great trick I learned was to use the telephone – old school, I know. If it’s a difficult street name or city district or something like that just call a business located there and ask where they are located. If it’s a proper name things can be a little trickier but calling the main office and asking the secretary is usually a viable solution. The hardest to figure out is voice over for start ups that don’t have an office yet and the name may not even be a real word. If it’s an audition, asking your agent is your best bet (they should have included it). If it’s for a job you’ve been hired for, ask. Some great resources linked below. Don’t forget, the extra mile really isn’t that far.